From imposing medieval strongholds to peaceful half-timbered residences with thatched roofs, Normandy is a land rich in castles and manor-houses.
Many prestigious monuments remain as illustrations of Norman military architecture from the days when English kings were Dukes of Normandy, such as the castles of Caen and Falaise (Calvados), Château-Gaillard at Les Andelys, Gisors, and Harcourt (Eure).
The palaces of Balleroy, Fontaine-Henry, Lantheuil, Saint-Germain-de-Livet (Calvados), Bizy, Champ-de-Bataille (Eure), Tourlaville, l'Hôtel de Beaumont in Valognes (Manche), Bourg-Saint Léonard, Carrouges, Château d'O in Mortrée, Le Haras du Pin, Sassy (Orne), Bailleul, Château d'Etelan in Saint-Maurice d'Etelan, and the Manor of Ango in Varengeville (Seine-Maritime) are fine examples of grandiose non-military architecture, and are open to visitors.
These rich residences occasionally recall prominent historical figures, such as Henri IV and Chateaubriand at Fervaques (Calvados), Michelet at Vascoeuil (Eure), or Guy de Maupassant in Miromesnil (Seine-Maritime).
Some castles and châteaux house museums : Caen, Crèvecoeur-en-Auge, Pontecoulant (Calvados), Beaumesnil, Vascoeuil (Eure), Bricquebec (Manche), Fiers, Tessé-la-Madeleine (Orne), Dieppe, Eu, and Martainville. The rich historical heritage of the region is well illustrated in the many museums, whose displays include all aspects of Normandy's history and culture, from military artefacts to traditional costumes.
Among these architectural gems, some are also famous for the beauty of their parks and gardens : Champ-de-Bataille (Eure), Vendeuvre (Calvados), the Château de Canon (Calvados), Vauville, Nacqueville and Martinvast (Manche), Bosmelet (Seine Maritime) or Beaumesnil (Eure).
If you are a lover of fine gardens, you will enjoy leafing through Normandy's Parks and Gardens brochure.
Lovers of ancient buildings will find the information they're looking for in the brochure Normandy's Heritage.